You show me a bat light-pull and I ask what it is
And you tell me it’s a light-pull in the shape of a bat.
I wandered into the White Lion for a quick drink the other night and, while I was waiting to be served, a bloke at the bar started talking to me. He was about my age, my height, my build: a little worn, intense, well-spoken, a bit stand-offish at first but, after a couple of pints, twinkle-eyed, sharp and funny. Sitting down next to a gentle fire, we talked about Russell Brand and Jeremy Paxman for a while, then about Clegg and Cameron, about Gove, about Miley Cyrus, about the idea of the two of them as a couple, about the impending destruction of the NHS. We disagreed – amicably – about whether Sherwood was the right manager to take Spurs to the next level and about the relative merits of Stax and Motown; we did that lazy, disingenuous male-bonding ‘can’t-live-with-’em . . .’ thing men in pubs do about women. And we bought each other beer after beer, whisky after whisky; as evening slurred into night, it turned out he was from the same part of the world as me – we even knew one or two of the same people – though he seemed to dislike this town, this country, this slippery, hollow age much, much more than me: he loathed our lack of curiosity and wonder, our celeb-worshipping superficiality, our disconnections, our casual violence. I liked him and he seemed to like me. And then things got serious.